One Vital Habit That’ll Change Your Life for the Better
We’re keeping it simple here today. I’m going to talk about something that you know you should be doing already.
And you’re going to listen.
Today we’re talking about the key benefits of taking a long walk daily.
It’s no secret that many of the great men (and probably women) of history took long walks as a daily habit.
Robert Frost, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, etc.
Nietzsche, a famous philosopher and another notorious walker, once said
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
The list of great people who extolled the benefits of walking is literally endless.
So, what’s good with a long walk?
Besides the benefits to physical health, there is a wealth of data-backed and anecdotal evidence suggesting that walking massively boosts creativity.
It’s no secret that many of the notable people who loved walking were famous for their thoughts & creations rather than for something else.
The jury is still out on why exactly long walks foster creativity, but there are some theories.
Walking requires you to use several parts of your brain at once — in fact, one of the reasons the human brain is so large is because walking upright is actually a pretty complicated process.
Therefore, some scientists suggest that the necessity of using all these different areas while walking allows for “different” thoughts than you might have otherwise had.
The craziest part is this:
It’s speculated by researchers that the human ability to walk developed at the same time as humans developed our remarkable level of cognition.
Aka, our ability to solve problems and interact with the world around us. At the high level we do.
So basically, when we learned to walk upright, we developed the mental skills necessary to utilize our surroundings effectively.
It’s also possible that a change of scenery and the need to evaluate the world around you while walking is the source of this increased creativity.
Having said that, increased “creativity” as measured by a Stamford study on the subject showed that the increase was still present if only walking on a treadmill. Which is kind of wild.
So overall, it appears that taking a long walk daily has concrete benefits as far as idea generation is concerned.
The next logical question is this — how long should these walks be taking?
Depending on who you ask, you want to get in about 10,000 steps per day.
If we’re talking about the average person’s strides, that comes out to about 5 miles.
That may seem a bit excessive, but realistically if you can get in 40–60 minutes of walking per day you’re doing enough, at least from a physical health perspective.
As far as the mental benefit aspect is concerned, that’s a bit murkier.
How long do you need to walk to actually “feel” the increase in creativity?
Not really clear.
I’d say far enough so that the mind has a chance to wander, as opposed to walking to something so close you’re immediately at the destination. But there is no ironclad answer here.
If you want to be like the great thinkers of history, you’re probably good to go with about 45 minutes of walking daily. At least to start.
So get out there. It’s a habit that will change your life for the better.
Mix it in where you can.
And let the ideas flow.
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